Engagement with MSHIELD

June 1, 2022

Attn: All CQI Coordinating Centers

From: Tedi Engler & Mike Englesbe

Re: Opportunities for CQIs to Partner with MSHIELD in 2023

The MSHIELD CQI (Michigan Social Health Interventions to Eliminate Disparities) is a partnering CQI, that aims to promote health equity and help achieve optimal health outcomes for all patients. MSHIELD has expertise in working with data involving social determinants of health and health disparities and has also developed strong ties with community partners who have been engaged in this work for years. One of MSHIELD’s primary goals is to be a partner to all existing CQIs to help each CQI achieve their quality improvement goals in a way that advances health equity.

The ask to your CQI: For CY23, our CQI Administration and BCBSM asks that CQIs develop goals that advance health equity in their patient populations. When you craft your 2023 SOW, we request that you consider including specific deliverables in partnership with MSHIELD. Work on health equity and partnership with MSHIELD is in alignment with the overall QI goals for the CQI portfolio in 2023. We understand partnership with MSHIELD will look different for each CQI. The final decision regarding the nature of the partnership lies with the CQI Program Director/Program Manager.

Regardless of where your CQI is in the journey to more fully address health disparities, we have identified three (3) ways that you can work with the MSHIELD team in CY23. We ask that all CQIs complete #1 and build deliverables for either #2 or #3 in CY 2023:

  1. Identify a Health Equity Champion.

The goal is to grow your coordinating center’s knowledge on health equity and identify opportunities to incorporate a health equity approach into your work. The Health Equity Champion should be an existing full time staff member within your coordinating center who can attend regular workshops led by MSHIELD next year and can then act as a liaison between MSHIELD and the CQI. By the end of the year, this person will be able to provide presentations and materials that will describe social determinants of health (SDOH) in the context of your CQI’s specialty, identify opportunities and challenges in integrating health equity into your approach, and propose next steps for your coordinating center and member sites to address health inequities. This will be an excellent career development opportunity for a key staff member on your team.

2. Build your Health Equity Dashboard.

The goal will be to move your CQI one step to the right (see figure below) by the end of CY23 along the following continuum. (MSHIELD will provide a guide to assist with identifying your CQI’s location.) Start with exploring your current data to see what sociodemographic data are already available. Then analyze your outcomes in stratified analyses by sociodemographic data, such as by race/ethnicity. If you have zip codes or other geographic data available, consider whether to integrate area-level measures of SDOH (the MSHIELD team can help guide you on what data are available and appropriate to your quality improvement goals). The ultimate goal is to synthesize these data and stratified analyses into a health equity dashboard or report that allows your CQI to regularly consider how outcomes may differ for important sub-populations of patients.

3. Connect patients in need to community resources.

For those CQIs interested in connecting patients to community resources, MSHIELD can advise at each step of the following process, with the goal of working with 1 member hospital or clinic to move your CQI one step to the right in the following path by the end of CY23. Start with raising awareness in your CQI of whether it is possible to be able to directly screen patients for unmet social health needs in a member hospital or clinic. Then implement focused screening for unmet social needs in 1 hospital/clinic. Once patients with unmet needs are identified, work with MSHIELD and their partners to connect patients to relevant community resources. In future, the goal will be to disseminate these activities to other member hospitals/clinics in your CQIs to advance best practices that promote health equity as part of quality improvement.

This initiative has direct support from our BCBSM partners.

Tom Leyden, director of the BCBSM Value Partnerships Program, has stated: “While we have done much work over this past year to develop an increased understanding of the incredible transformational efforts occurring across the CQI portfolio, we realize that we do not know every last effort you are working on. We are very interested in understanding any/all efforts that you are leading to positively impact health disparities. The above suggestions were provided to you to help your CQI think through how you can better engage with MSHIELD. Ultimately we are looking to do two things: (1) improve the health care of our communities and particularly reduce health inequities and (2) help our partners at MSHIELD, who are reliant upon successful collaborations with the CQI portfolio, to ensure their continued success.”